NMU on right track with medicinal plants program

An academic partnership Northern Michigan University announced recently that it had formed with Shimadzu Scientific Instruments Inc. in support of NMU’s medicinal plant chemistry program seems to be one of those rare win-win situations.

The collaboration includes an in-kind donation to equip a new chemistry laboratory, a framework for research collaborations and internship opportunities for students, according to an NMU press release.

NMU is converting West Science Hall space into a cutting-edge analytical core laboratory, scheduled to open this fall. The university recently entered into an academic partnership agreement through the Shimadzu Partnership for Academics, Research, and Quality of Life Program, which provided an in-kind donation of instrumentation for the laboratory valued at nearly $851,000.

As it turns out, the Shimadzu laboratory will be one of three rooms that will occupy the 3,800 square feet of converted space. It will feature gas and liquid chromatography equipment used to separate chemical compounds and determine how much of each chemical is present in a sample. NMU will also acquire mass spectrometers, which are used to identify a chemical compound in a sample based on the mass of a molecule, and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometers.

“This partnership is reflective of a shared mission between Northern and Shimadzu to invest in innovation and contribute to society through science and technology,” said David Nyberg, director of corporate engagement at NMU, in a news release. “In addition to a world-class environment for instruction and research, chemistry students will have the unique opportunity to collaborate with leading scientists and a premier scientific company, including opportunities for internships and career exploration.”

Setting up the curriculum was visionary on the part of NMU planners. The partnership with Shimadzu Scientific Instruments Inc. is just plain smart. We look forward to watching this program grow.